Thursday, March 20, 2014

What is Awareness and what is mind? - Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Swamiji, please give us simple definition for “awareness”? Also, if the mind is an object, what is the subject? What is it that is aware?

To define awareness, we can only use another word—Consciousness, for example. Awareness means you are aware of something; it is opposed to inertness or non awareness. What is opposed to inertness is that which is not inert—awareness.

Awareness, therefore, can be defined as what is manifest in all forms of perception, in all forms of knowing. Awareness is qualified by different objects. When I say “I am aware of the pot,” for example, there is pot awareness. Similarly when I say “I am aware of the cloth,” there is cloth awareness. Whenever you are aware of something, that something becomes the qualifying for awareness. This awareness can be defined in terms of knowledge as such. What is basic in all forms of knowledge is pure existence (satyam). Therefore, knowledge is defined as existence, and existence is defined as knowledge. One helps to define other. The basis for all forms of knowledge is what we mean by awareness.

When you are listening to me, you are aware of me and of these words. The
fundamental principle in which these words are heard is awareness. The words, “I do not hear you,” are also said within the same principle. The not-hearing also takes place in the same awareness. What is common in all forms of perception is awareness: I hear that I don’t hear, I see that I don’t see, I think that I don’t think. All are nothing but awareness.

If, as we say, the mind is an object, what is it that is aware? The word “mind”
means “thought.” What is it that is the awarer? You are the awarer. You are
aware of thought. Opposed to the thought, therefore, there is subject—you.
In fact, both the subject and the object are awareness. But, in the beginning, to help you find out what are you are, I generally say that a thought is an object and you are the subject. Then, when you ask “what is this I that is the subject?” I reply, “You, the subject, are a witness.” And what is the nature of the witness? Awareness.

The witness, then, is awareness and the witnessed object cannot be away from awareness. Therefore, the witness and witnessed are both awareness. Even thewitness is not there, awareness remains. Similarly, thought is awareness and the thinker, the knower of the thought, is also awareness.
With reference to thought, however, awareness assume two statuses, corresponding to two types of thought in mind—subject thought and object thought. These two types of thought can be seen in the dream, where you are both the subject and the object of the dream. You are the object in that you are the one who participates in the dream world. And you are the subject, the one whose dream it is. The subject and the object are therefore one and the same. Both types of thought—Subject thought and object thought exist—in awareness and are, in fact, nothing but awareness.

Om Tat Sat

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Guided Nidhidhyasana 2 - by H.H. Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, in this enlightening guided contemplation on the truth of the self, awes us with the clarity of real recognition of one's absolute nature.

Click at the following link:

Guided Nidhidhyasana 2 - by H.H Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Friday, March 7, 2014

Some thoughts about Self Inquiry

The expression ‘original consciousness’ is used by some neo-Vedanta teachers, who ask their students to negate what is ‘not original’ to arrive at the ‘original consciousness’. The expression ‘original consciousness’ used in this form is misleading – because Consciousness is unchanging – Consciousness never adds anything to itself to lose its original nature – it is not like milk becoming curd and we have to make it milk again.
The purpose of self inquiry is to arrive at the nature of ‘I’ which is invariable in every experience. The time-tested simple method give in the methodology of revealing truth in traditional Vedanta is the method of discriminating between the perceiver and the perceived, or the subject and the object. I is ever the subject, the perceiver, the witness with reference to what is perceived, never the perceived. Consciousness that shines as ‘I’ is never an object of any means of knowledge. Consciousness-I is unique in this respect.
So in the understanding of ‘I’ or me – negate whatever is objectified or objectifiable. Then what is revealed is  what shines as ‘I’ which is self-revealing, self-existing, basic, non-negatable, consciousness that is ever-present, changeless and limitless – unfettered by whatever is objectified or objectifiable in its presence -  cit svarupoham. When it is our own confirmed and ascertained recognition we can call it as assimilated knowledge.
Now we can ask is this consciousness that I am, affected or divided or displaced by any status as an experiencer or the experienced object? For example a sound is heard. That means the hearer of the sound is perceived, as well as the sound is perceived. Is the hearer or the sound heard outside consciousness-I? No. Consciousness is the presence that illuminates, accommodates unconditionally, gives life to and sustains the hearer and the heard sound. Both have no separation from Consciousness-I.
The thinker of thought and the thought
The hearer of sound and the sound
The seer of form/colour and the form/colour
The doer of action, the action and the object of action
All of these are illumined, revealed, perceived and gain being in the limitless, ever-present, unchanging Consciousness that is the truth of experiencer-I, the experience and the experienced object. Akhanda cit savarupoham.
In every experience there are two orders of realities at play and they are to be understood and recognized as such, otherwise there is no understanding of Advaita. Confirming for oneself that what shines as ‘I’ is consciousness that is separate from the personality and everything else is not advaita – it is still dvaita or duality because one may imagine that the personality is another thing, as is the rest of the universe. Then where is Advaita?
The two orders of reality have to be understood. One is an independent reality and the other is dependent. For example wave is a dependent reality – it depends on its cause water. Water the cause of wave is the independent reality because water can exist without being a wave, whereas wave cannot exist without water, because wave is nothing but water. The independent reality has the technical name of satyam and the dependent reality has the technical name mithya.
Taking the example of a sound is heard.
Sound is
Hearing of sound is
The hearer of sound is
Consciousness-I, the unchanging truth of the hearer, in whose ever-presence, the hearer, hearing and the heard comes to light – is. I am = Consciousness Is = Existence-Consciousness
It is this Existence-Consciousness which appears in multifarious forms of different experiences without undergoing any change.
Here the hearer of sound (a facet of the personality), the hearing itself and the sound are dependent on Consciousness-I, the unchanging independent reality. The hearer is mithya, the hearing is mithya, the sound is mithya -  in other words the empirical world consisting of the ever changing factors such as experiencer, the experience, the experienced object is mithya. You the ever-present changeless witness-consciousness, in whose presence the empirical world of experience comes into being, is satyam.
 These two orders of reality satyam and mithya are the basis of Advaita. Satyam is the changeless, absolute reality that is limitless consciousness. It is the very content of the changing, dependent empirical reality, without whom, the empirical reality consisting of the three-fold factors of experience, experience and experienced has no being.
We cannot say it is intellectual and dismiss it. The oneness of water and wave lies in understanding wave to be non-seperate from water, dependent on water its source, wheras water, the source is independent.
The systematic study of the tradition of teaching of Vedanta gives us knowledge that confers moksha or liberation. This knowledge may be assimilated knowledge – which is our own confirmed, ascertained knowledge that I am immediate, direct, self-revealing, self-existing, ever-present, unchanging, limitless consciousness, in whose presence the whole universe apparently comes into being, is sustained and resolves. This knowledge can also be fraught with obstacles, in which case it is unassimilated knowledge. Some teachers refer to unassimilated knowledge, when they negate intellectual knowledge. Further they condemn the systematic study of Vedanta viewing it as incapable of giving ‘direct, intuitive’ knowledge. This view is wrong and should not be promoted. What they mean by intuitive knowledge is well-ascertained and confirmed for oneself as one’s reality. This is the same as the assimilated knowledge that Vedanta reveals.
It is true that unassimilated knowledge  cannot confer moksha and so efforts must be made to remove the obstacles whatever they are.
Have ascertained that the invariable nature of I is unchanging limitless consciousness, one’s understanding is incomplete, until one recognizes that the empirical reality that one transacts with on a daily basis, consisting of  experiencer and experience, is dependent on and non-seperate from its source, the absolute, unchanging Consciousness, which is indeed the truth of the confused and ignorant experiencer.
Om Tat Sat

Monday, March 3, 2014


We take ourselves to be individuals separate from one another and the world. Is this true or is it a false belief? If it is true then I am always an affected being – affected by the world around –sometimes favourably and many times unfavourably. I become whatever  my conditioning allows me to be – nothing more – nothing less.
As an individual, I take myself to be limited in every which way and so I become a person with endless set of needs which beg to be fulfilled as a means to seeing myself as complete. Of course there are many unfulfilled needs and these make me live life with the endless pursuit of needs fulfilment. When needs are fulfilled legitimately there are consequent feelings of satisfaction and when they cannot be fulfilled for any reason whatsoever,  or they are fulfilled without heed to the universal code of values,  there is conflict, anger, hurt, anxiety, frustration, guilt etc.
This is my lot as an individual. Then I am like a fish imprisoned in a submarine!!! There is no freedom – there is only living being controlled helplessly by my conditioning and believing that to be my truth.
Vedanta asks us to make an inquiry into whether I am an individual and gives us a simple logical method that helps us question our belief that I am this personality that I believe myself to be. Thus it helps us to first see even the possibility that we could be wrong in our estimate of ourselves.
It points out a rule which is - that whatever you can objectify, whatever you can know or experience is not you for the simple reason that you are the subject who knows – you are never an object that is known.
For example you know the building you are staying in – and you also know that you are not the building that you objectify. Similarly, you know the clothes you are wearing and you also know that you are not the clothes that you objectify. When it come to physical things external to the body, we have no problem in understanding this. But the minute we come to our body – to the skin of the body – we look upon it as ‘I’ – even though it is clearly something we objectify and know. So too, even though we know our feelings and our thoughts – even though they are clearly objects of our knowledge, our experience –still we take them to be ‘me’.
This is THE error that causes all the sorrow in our lives.
Vedanta says strip away from your belief of yourself all that you have added through ignorance of your real self – so for the time being strip away in your understanding – the body, its physiological functions, the mind with all of its ways of thinking, beliefs, feelings, needs, memories and ignorance from your sense of ‘I’. Strip them all away from your sense of ‘I’, which is direct and immediate and see what is there. Stay with that ... stay with that ... stay with that ... again and again stay with that – ... you may say I feel sacred ... hey fear is an object of your knowledge – you are not fear – remove fear also from your understanding of yourself ... You may say I feel a void, a great discomfort ... hey void is also something you are objectifying .... you are not what you objectify ... use that assimilated rule again and again ... and stay with what remains without identifying with anything – be it thought, feeling, memory, sensation - that comes up as an object of your knowledge and experience.
As you stay through understanding, with the sense of I, from which all ideas of objects has been taken away, you begin to recognize that you are irrefutably a basic conscious being, a conscious presence – basic self-existent self-revealing consciousness that is present at all times, illumining every experience of objectification, in reality untouched by the experience. Just as sunlight is untouched by all that is illumined in its presence.
Vedanta examines the nature of reality. Whatever you experience is a changing reality - and it depends on YOU, the unchanging reality. You are the unchanging truth, the unchanging reality of the personality that you experience, independent of the personality that you experience yourself as. 
Not identifying with anything that may come up you experience yourself as vast spaciousness -you recognize that the words of Vedanta, which reveal the truth of yourself as limitless, timeless consciousness is true. You are That. You are the limitless timeless consciousness that Vedanta, the means of knowledge in the form of  words, is revealing.  This understanding is sometimes experienced as  a sense of vast spaciousness in which every experience seemingly takes place, inseparate from you.
It is only when there is identification due to ignorance with the object of experience, be it the body-mind or anything external to the body, that one assumes that one is a personality limited by the conditioning of the body-mind or the experiences in the external world. 
So to dispute your belief that you are a personality, a limited individual, first you need to see the possibility of your being something else. For that use the rule given by Vedanta – again and again and again and again see what you are not – and stay with what remains – which is the sense of ‘I’. Stay with that I-sense which has been divested of the sense of reality in all that is added on to it in ignorance. If you can do that, stay with the sense of I, which has nothing added to it – which is just ‘I am’ – just Being – that very staying will help stabilize your understanding of I to be independent of the personality. You also assimilate that the personality is not independent of you, the consciousness in whose presence it manifests and is enlivened and empowered.
And once you assimilate that you are independent of the personality whereas the personality is not independent of you, the words used by Vedanta that reveal your true nature, reveal their meaning to you and you recognize that YOU are the meaning – limitless timeless absolute consciousness from whom nothing is separate.
Om Tat Sat